She Sang To Me … August 4, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(1963)

Jon Signing The show was done.

I made my way from the stage to my book table. I am of a mind to believe that the audience has been so kind to grant me an hour of its attention–I certainly can give them a moment or two of my ears.

I learn so much by listening to those who pass in front of me. Even those who never stop at my table to speak teach me that it’s not my job to reach the whole world, just those who can hear my pitch.

But tonight, when I finished in Suttons Bay, a lovely woman came to my side and told me she had written a song. She didn’t know what to do with it. I asked her if it had ever been performed. Once, at the church, she offered.

She then asked me if I would like to hear it. Assuming she had a CD copy of the performance, I said yes. Then all of a sudden, she burst into song. Well, burst is too strong a word. She gently eased her way into sharing her beautiful melody.

  • I was enthralled.
  • I was blessed.
  • I was intrigued.
  • I was a little embarrassed by the fact that I had anticipated something quite different.

But mostly, I was attune.

She sang three verses, including a key change she had inserted into her arrangement. As she performed the tune a capella, in front of me, my producer brain began to insert strings, guitars and harmonics into what I was hearing. Before too long, I had an entire orchestration running through my head as I listened to her continue her composition.

All at once she stopped singing and said, “I don’t know what to do with it.”

I gave her a few guidelines on getting a lead sheet made and a recording, but what I didn’t tell her was that the music business is so filled with favoritism and preoccupation with popularity that it is rare that anything new is allowed to wedge its way into the scene.

As she walked away, I took a second to try to remember the melody–to hum it in my spirit.

I thought about how wonderful it is to believe in heaven. Not for the streets of gold, gates of pearl, or angelic choirs, but rather, to finally arrive at a place where all the inspirational classics that never were able to be promoted and heard will be sung, extolled and produce praise.

All the books that were rejected out of hand by careless publishers will be on the shelves, available to the redeemed souls, to become redeemed again.

All the unrequited lovers will find their satisfaction.

All the dreamers will taste the sweetness of their unachieved aspirations.

It will be a place of fulfillment. It will be a land where we will not be intimidated to hear someone burst into song because they have been inspired.

She sang to me…and it was very special.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Seek a Salem … July 16, 2012

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Seven Mile Ferry — a well-traveled path with, I’m sure, a tale to be told. Yet I was not in the mood for the ramblings of some roadway. I had come to share, and hopefully to be shared with, by some of God’s good folk. My destination was Salem.

The word has two meanings for me. First, “Salem,” from the Hebrew, means peace. Of course, any good reader who has spent any time in the gospels will tell you there’s really no such thing as an actual location for peace. Matter of fact, there’s a warning that those who pursue such a utopia will often find “sudden destruction”–or a “sword.”  No, the Good Book tells us that peace requires a maker.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” (Which, by the way, is a far cry better than being referred to as the “Brats of Beelzebub…”)

The second image that pops into my mind when I think of “Salem” is the town in Massachusetts, which for one reason or another, decided to begin looking on its young lasses as witches. Although we might be tempted, after an evening of perusing reality television, to sympathize with these forefathers, it’s rather doubtful that any of these characters are possessed with much more than themselves. Yes, Salem, Massachusetts, went on a witch hunt–and even though the conclusions were rather dubious, there was an awful lot at stake, so they went ahead a burned a bunch of ’em anyway.

So I was curious, upon arriving at this new sanctuary of possibility, which Salem lay before me. Would it be a building filled with peace-makers or those who are just making pieces out of everything, breaking their world apart into black and white?

The difference is really quite simple. Those who have decided to make peace always arrive in life with anticipation. They have discovered the key to making the human journey pleasant and plausible lies in determining that God is ready to bless instead of curse or ignore. If you really believe that we have all fallen so short of the glory of God that He’s basically abandoned the human part of His creative mission and is searching for the nearest whack to destroy us, then you will find it very difficult to want to make peace. You will also find it unnecessary to have “ears to hear”–because one of the true signs of a peace-maker is that he or she has taken their anticipation and has put on ears because they believe there are blessings to be had.

On the other hand, those who make pieces out of life, looking to fragment everything into its parts for careful scrutiny, always lead with suspicion. Let’s be honest–if you’re convinced the world is evil and God is doing battle with iniquity, then the only conclusion you could possibly come to is that most people you meet are flirting with darkness, and it is your duty to expose their bleakness and proclaim them to be transgressors so as to do the will of God and protect yourself from destruction. It is a fascinating fact that those who have suspicion crawling up their spines only have ears to fear. It doesn’t matter what you tell them–they will translate it into some sort of horror or pending doom.

So you can imagine–I was curious upon arriving at this beautiful, well-constructed, country church, whether I would find Salem, the peace makers, or Salem, occupied by those trying to make pieces out of something truly holy.

Walking into the building, I was greeted. That’s always a good sign. A hand should always come our way before a stare. At least that’s my opinion. I was engulfed by a sea of hands, and proclamations from people’s lips that they had been looking forward to what God was going to be doing. The comical part of the preamble to the service was that these delightful human beings were so anxious to communicate their excitement that I got prayed for three times. Usually, in a United Methodist Church, if you get one prayer, you are fortunate. But I got a triple anointing. So that put a giddiness in my heart–that the message my Father gave to me to share with my brothers and sisters was actually going to be heard instead of being criticized by those wanting to find something absurd. Because as I told you, when there’s anticipation in the room, there are ears to hear. And as Jesus said, “when people have ears to hear, let them hear.”

Salem United Methodist Church has discovered a great truth–God doesn’t bless us. Blessing is everywhere and we either arrive to receive it or we stand firm in our stubbornness, to reject it. It really comes down to one question–is peace in my control? Or in the control of God and the devil?

If you think that the heavens or hell are manipulating what happens next in your life, you will very suspicious and have ears to fear. But if you know that we are the peace makers, the children of God, then you will show up in life with anticipation, with ears to hear. Ears to hear? Or ears to fear? It’s the difference between finding God or fearing life.

I had a beautiful morning. People were touched and likewise with me. But it all revolved around the fact that this little chapel out on Seven Mile Ferry Road decided to be filled with anticipation instead of suspicion. They made a decision not to hunt for the witch, but to be a congregation which hunts … for peace.

   

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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